Site Talk forum: Changes are coming!

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Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Sep 7, 2016 7:44 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

As I mentioned many months ago, we have been working on a new site design.

The first step was importing all of NGA's content onto our platform. Thanks to Dave's incredible programming skills and Jon's tireless work, that's been accomplished. Whooohooo!

The next step has been a total redesign of garden.org. Our desire is to bring the NGA into the next season of it's life. While ATP's focus was mainly forums, with the addition of NGA, we are so much more than a community with the largest database- we are now a juggernaut of information. Our desire with the redesign is to showcase all that NGA has to offer to the millions who visit every month. We've worked hard, and I'm confident that you will love the results.

Yes, things will look different- very different! But, at the core, things will be the same, just updated. We'll be right here, as always, helping everyone make the change and fixing those rare bugs that may pop up. I've been using the updated site for several weeks now, so I can vouch that it works.

As a huge bonus, Dave has worked just for you all to make the new site very customize-able. I don't want to build it up too much, but I think you will be very very happy!

Our hard goal for relaunch is the end of the month, but we're hoping for sooner. I wanted to make sure that our core members are well informed and ready! Trust me, you are in for a treat!
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Sep 7, 2016 7:56 PM CST
Thumbs up Hurray! Looking forward to the new and improved NGA. Very interested in seeing the customize-able part.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Sep 7, 2016 9:03 PM CST
All the changes to date (from day #1 of ATP) have been positive, as far as I'm concerned -- so I'm looking forward to whatever comes next!! Thumbs up
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Sep 7, 2016 9:40 PM CST
Not to be negative which I will be but: I have been on a lot of forums, for well over a decade, that changed format, Grumbling Crying Confused Blinking Thumbs down NOT ONE has ever been an improvement.
[Last edited by RpR - Sep 7, 2016 9:41 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1266078 (4)
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Sep 7, 2016 10:06 PM CST
LOL, RpR -- withhold your judgment until you see what is in store... Dave does not (or at least has not in the past many years) make changes that are bad for the site members!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
[Last edited by Weedwhacker - Sep 7, 2016 10:08 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1266090 (5)
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
If it sparkles - I'm there!
Region: North Carolina Bookworm
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MISSINGROSIE
Sep 7, 2016 10:06 PM CST
Get out your baby book, it is important to record all the firsts!! Thumbs up
Don't squat with yer spurs on!

People try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Region: California Plant Database Moderator Roses Irises Clematis Garden Photography
Cottage Gardener Keeper of Poultry Hummingbirder Bee Lover Butterflies Birds
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Calif_Sue
Sep 7, 2016 11:02 PM CST

Plants Admin

@RpR, you are pretty new around here, I've been along for Dave's site changes since 2004, NOT ONE has ever NOT been an improvement. And if something is wonky or a problem, he ALWAYS listens to the members and then often makes improvements to those improvements.

Enjoy the ride! nodding
My gardening Blog!
Hand sewn wares and vintage finds in my Etsy store. Summer Song Cottage
Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
Laughter is the best medicine!
Rabbit Keeper Birds Hummingbirder Salvias Xeriscape Organic Gardener
Container Gardener Cottage Gardener Bee Lover Forum moderator Butterflies Apples
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Marilyn
Sep 7, 2016 11:23 PM CST
Sounds great Dave and Trish! Hurray! Thumbs up
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


Name: Susan
Torrington, Alberta, Canada (Zone 3a)
World Famous Gopher Hole Museum
Charter ATP Member Dahlias Enjoys or suffers cold winters Ferns Garden Art Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Region: Canadian Vegetable Grower Container Gardener
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Tallulah_B
Sep 7, 2016 11:46 PM CST
I agree - been around for many years........ before 2009, but can't remember when Rolling on the floor laughing
Dave & Trish have never done things without considering how we feel.
As uncomfortable as I am with change, this is ONE change that I'm looking forward to seeing, just because it IS Dave & Trish making the change Smiling
Susan
Christian Church Committees
Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.
Name: Thomas
Deep East Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Butterflies Vegetable Grower Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Greenhouse
Farmer Birds Bee Lover Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thomas75
Sep 8, 2016 3:50 AM CST
RpR said:Not to be negative which I will be but: I have been on a lot of forums, for well over a decade, that changed format, Grumbling Crying Confused Blinking Thumbs down NOT ONE has ever been an improvement.


I have to agree with @RpR with my experiences. I have been ( past tense ) a member of one Forum for almost 30 years and they "upgraded" their entire website / forum and it was / still is terrible. Soft color background with small (I mean small) font in a soft color made it almost impossible to read. Despite all of the request by a huge number of members, no changes were made. I for one simple left the Forum.

This is not to say the forth coming changes for NGA will be that way.

Too many times changes are made just for the sake of change or for financial reasons. The new website / forum becomes really "cute" and "too busy" and looses it's intended design and use. I strongly believe in the "KISS" system. Keep it Simple Stupid.

I also understand and agree that no one should make any kind of pre-judgment.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day. nodding
Thomas75
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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vic
Sep 8, 2016 4:00 AM CST
@RpR and @Thomas75 - I have been on Dave and Trish's websites for well over 15 years. I'm an absolute idiot on all things computer and technology and I can promise and assure you that Dave will make this very easy to navigate. Thumbs up
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Sep 8, 2016 4:22 AM CST
I'm really excited and looking forward to the new design changes! Those of us who've been around for quite awhile know that every change made is going to be great.

@RpR and @Thomas75, No need to worry ... this site and all of it's members are in the Best and Most Capable hands of the Whitinger family! I've been a follower since 2006 and there is no better gardening related site on the web than right here.

~ We are all Family family here at NGA's garden.org Lovey dubby
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
Image
Horntoad
Sep 8, 2016 5:06 AM CST
With over 50,000 members, it's inevitable that there are going to be people that will not be happy. But it's sad to see negative comments before the changes ever start to take place.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Ronnie
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
Morning Glories Garden Photography Region: Pennsylvania Charter ATP Member Orchids Dragonflies
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 I helped beta test the first seed swap Bookworm Bee Lover
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luvsgrtdanes
Sep 8, 2016 5:36 AM CST
Looking forward to see what's coming Hurray!

One thing I can say, the difference with the other sites that made "improvements" is, the don't have @Dave, @Trish and @Jon on their side Lovey dubby
It happens in a flash, but the memory of it last forever. It can not be borrowed or stolen, and it is of no earthly good until it is given away. So if in your hurry you meet someone who is too weary to smile, leave him one of yours, for no one needs a smile quite as much as he who has none to give...

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Sep 8, 2016 6:24 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Long post alert!!

For those who are interested in some technical details, I have spent approximately the last month rewriting the HTML for Garden.org. The last time I did a full rewrite was back in 2012, when I rewrote it to make it smartphone-friendly. I wrote it 100% from scratch and it worked very well in most browsers, but had some serious limitations.

This latest update moves us away from my custom solution over to a platform called bootstrap, which is a really nice set of open source CSS and Javascript libraries that allow really nice mobile web development. Moving Garden.org to this framework means that I'll have better tools to continue the development of the site. The web is always evolving, and it's important to continue to evolve our website along with the web. Moving to bootstrap enables me to do exactly that.

The left navigation bar will be removed, replaced with a navigation bar at the top of the page. There will be pulldowns for the major sections of the site (Articles / Plants Database / Community / Tools & Apps).

The look of the site will also be toned down a little bit, so that the actual content stands out better. We're experimenting with different header images. In the past we feature a daily new image in the banner at the top, and we will probably change to have that part only appear in the community part of the site. The rest of the site will have a more consistent (from day to day) look that doesn't change each day.

Other than the navigational parts of the site, much of the look won't change. The threads will remain looking almost the same as they do now. Same with the plants database. Over time we will likely improve the layouts of the various features of the site, but I don't foresee dramatic changes. I'm pretty happy with the way our threads look right now.

One really exciting thing is that I have developed a dashboard feature, where you can customize what you want to see, and where you want to see it. You drag and drop sections into columns. So right now you go to the homepage and you see the items that I chose for you, in the order that I chose them. After the redesign launch, you will be able to use the dashboard feature to only see exactly the new items you want to see.

For example, maybe you care more about seeing new photos, so you'd put the "Recently Uploaded Database Images" at the top-left of the page. Then "Recently Uploaded Multi-Plant Images" at the top right of the page. Fun random images can go on the right side. You get the idea.

I've been using the dashboard for a few days and I absolutely love it, and I know you all will, too. This site redesign has enabled me to develop this feature, and many more really nice ones like it are in store for the future. I'm actually quite excited to show you all what we have made for you.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Sep 8, 2016 6:45 AM CST
It sure sounds like exciting and wonderful changes are ahead, can't wait to see the results of your hard work! Thumbs up
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Hostas Ferns
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RickM
Sep 8, 2016 7:20 AM CST

@Dave ,

Glad to hear you're moving in the open source direction. Having done a lot of programming over the past 35 years, it's great when you don't have to re-invent the wheel each time you need a wheel.

I think I have a not so unique concern that the site will become too mobile friendly and leave those of us using a desktop platform with older browsers out in the cold. With Firefox, Chrome and now MS Edge dropping support for older hardware/software at a rabid pace, there are fewer and fewer sites that can be used as their latest versions won't run on the older systems. Especially when you're on a very limited income/budget. Buying new hardware, etc. just to keep up with the newer browsers isn't an option.

Just me $0.02 .
What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. Charles Dudley Warner
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Sep 8, 2016 7:23 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Actually Rick, right now Garden.org officially does not support the older browsers. When people have problems, I tell them to stop using IE and move to Chrome.

After the redesign, I expect the site will work with MSIE and other ancient browsers, for the first time.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Sep 8, 2016 7:28 AM CST
Over the years that I have been an All Things Plants, and now National Gardening Association subscriber, I cannot remember an instance that either Dave or Trish did not make changes that benefited the site and we, its subscribers. They both have always been open to suggestions and when I have ever had complaints (very few) or concerns (few), they always responded to me quickly. I sincerely believe that whatever changes they have in mind will be well thought out and will be positive. I think a lot of the concern I read is simply because human nature makes us a bit uncomfortable with change. But let's see what the site becomes and then make judgments whether we like what we see or don't.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Hostas Ferns
Image
RickM
Sep 8, 2016 7:48 AM CST
Thanks Dave, that's what I'm hoping for as well.

My system runs Windows 2000, which I need to keep for legacy software that either no longer exists or is too expensive to upgrade. I run Firefox 12 and IE 6. Chrome isn't an option at all. While the hardware would probably run Windows 7, the legacy software won't run on anything beyond XP.
What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. Charles Dudley Warner

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